Propane is the fuel of choice for homebrewers. It became popular over stovetops for its efficiency and low cost.
Propane gets your batch of wort boiling in minutes. You can brew either 5 or 20 gallons and the job will be done quickly.
Another reason why propane burners are favored by brewers is their flexibility. When you are assembling your home brewery, you can use any kind of kettle on the burner. Whether you can afford an economical hack or a high-end kettle, they will work. You can always make adjustments later with minimal disruptions.
Burners are used in the traditional home brewing method that involves a 3-vessel system. These include:
- Boiling kettle
- Mash tun
- Hot liquor tank
The brew in a bag system also requires the use of a burner during the brewing process.
The burners for home brewing must be set up outdoors. However, that is also a good thing as brewing outside is more relaxing and enjoyable.
How to Choose a Burner for Home Brewing
It is not too often that someone has to go shopping for propane burners, so it’s understandable if the overall process is confusing for you. The market is also full of different reputable brands with unique specs and accessories.
In an attempt to simplify the process, we have narrowed things down to four important factors that you should consider.
Look out for the following properties when choosing your propane burner:
1) The number of BTUs produced on combustion
A burner with a high BTU is ideal for all-grain beer brewing. A higher BTU value does not always mean that it is a better burner.
Some burner models have a lower output, yet they are more efficient. They operate better because of their efficient heat distribution.
2) The type of metal it is made with
Propane burners are either constructed with cast iron or stainless steel. Cast iron burners have thicker and sturdier frames. On the flip side, they weigh more and tend to rust a lot quicker. This makes it less optimal for outdoor brewing.
On the other hand, a stainless steel burner is lighter and rust-resistant to some degree. If you intend to do a lot of outdoor brewing, it is the better option.
3) The height of the burner
Compared to regular stoves, the outdoor propane burner has longer legs. The home brewing propane burners essentially have a brew stand. The stand is kinder on your back as it prevents constant bending.
On the other hand, if you intend to boil big batches of wort, get a burner that is closer to the ground. Shorter legs tend to be sturdier.
4) The availability of a windscreen
Windscreens are a staple if you brew in a very exposed place outdoors. A strong wind will put out your flame. Having a shield will protect your flame every time a strong breeze blows through.
A windscreen will ensure a smooth boil and a less annoying heating experience.
1. GasOne 200, 000 BTU Square Heavy- Duty Single Burner Outdoor Stove Propane Gas Cooker with Adjustable 0-20Psi Regulator & Steel Braided Hose
The GasOne at a glance screams just how sturdy it is. It is square and the frame construction is heavy-duty to withstand loads. It already is the ideal propane burner to use for brewing beer outdoors.
- Braided steel gas and pressure hose.
- Adjustable gas regulator knob that goes from 0-21 PSI.
- The burner is compact and highly portable. Other than brewing outdoors, you can cook other foods on it.
- The frame of the GasOne is constructed out of cast iron. This means that it is very heavy duty and can withstand heavy loads placed on it.
- The heat output is a massive 200,000 BTU. It can boil your gallons of wort in minutes.
- The burner comes with a CSA-certified regulator to control the heat output.
- This burner is highly durable because of the cast iron construction.
- Your safety is guaranteed as the regulator is CSA approved.
- The cast iron construction means it is both heavy-duty and long-lasting.
- Despite being made with heavy materials, the burner is still highly portable.
- The high heat at which this burner operates contributes to black paint transfer from the top layer to the cooking pots.
- The flames can be too much for some users.
- The height of the burner frame may be unfavorable.
- The frame is susceptible to rust after the top coating chips away.
2. GasOne 200, 000 BTU Single Burner Outdoor Stove Propane Gas Cooker with Adjustable 0-20Psi Regulator & Hose
The stove is perfect for activities such as emergency preparedness, camping, fishing trips, and friendly gatherings.
- The burner is constructed with cast-iron for durability.
- Both the cast-iron and metal frames ensure that the B-5400 can withstand multiple heavy usages.
- The heat output is a massive 200,000 BTU.
- There is an adjustable air valve to allow in enough oxygen for a clean blue flame.
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 15.5 x 28.5 inches
- Weight of Product: 2.2 pounds
- A propane regulator is included in the package to be connected to the propane tank.
Note: At the high-temperature output of 200,000 BTU, all paint will chip. There is currently no kind of paint that can withstand such high temperatures.
- The cast-iron frame comes protected from the elements and rust by a weatherproof paint coating.
- The heat output is a massive 200,000 BTU. It is ideal for boiling large volumes of liquid quickly.
- Buying this burner is a lifetime investment, since weatherproof cast-iron is highly durable.
- The heat regulator is CSA-approved ad goes up to a maximum of 20 PSI.
- The burner comes detached from its stand but can be assembled when outdoors. When it is time to store the burner, the stand can be removed.
- The burner is simple to install, operate, and safely store.
- It is relatively budget-friendly compared to other burners with similar specifications.
- The cast-iron frame means it will withstand heavy pots and kettles placed on it.
- High heat output at 200,000 BTU.
- The unique stand makes it very sturdy. This is the perfect burner to saddle with the heaviest pots of wort.
- The Concord Banjo is incredibly compact, making it easy to put away.
- The detachable stand utilizes little space in storage.
- The design of the pot allows it to balance big ports without wobbling.
- The weatherproof paint coating is great but not when it is subjected to heat. It emits an acrid odor and gas.
- Attaching and detaching the stand takes some getting used to.
4. GasOne Portable Propane 100, 000-BTU High-Pressure Single Burner Camp Stove & Steel Braided Regulator with Adjustable Legs
- The GasOne B-3000H-1 is a high-pressure one stove propane burner.
- If you are looking for well-distributed 100,000 BTU of heat, this is the right burner for you.
- The long legs can be adjusted lower or detached altogether. This ensures that you don’t exert unnecessary strain on your back and neck.
- The long legs can be removed and replaced with shorter ones near the ground level to create a stable source of heat for the wort.
- The body frame was made to withstand the rugged outdoor conditions. The frame is made out of high-quality cast-iron material.
- The propane gas hose from the B-3000H-1 comes pre-installed with built-in heat control. You’ll be able to adjust the heat directly from the regulator.
- The regulator is certified safe for use by CSA.
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 6.2 x 11.22 inches
- Weight of the product: 17.9 pounds
Other than boiling wort, this elegant burner can also boil sap and maple syrup.
- 65,000 BTU heat output, which is rather high.
- The solitary burner is high-pressure and boils, grills, and cooks quickly. It is perfect for brewing and gatherings.
- The burner flame is adjustable to increase or reduce the heat output. This is done using a regulator knob that controls the flow of gas from the propane storage tank.
- Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 12.5 x 14.25 inches
- Weight of the product: 10.63 pounds
- The gas hose is made of braided steel that is heat-resistant. This ensures that gas and pressure move safely to the burner.
- The gas regulator knob moves from 0-20. It is heat-resistant and so won’t heat up after some use.
- An O-ring is fixed on the gas control knob to prevent leakage when in use.
- Compared to regular propane burners, the B-5300 has low height.
- The burner has a very strong and thick frame, so it can handle heavy objects placed upon it.
- The burner is still small enough to be easily portable and stored in other locations.
Carry the B-5300 with you next time you go for a cookout. It can handle the demand for food quickly.
Home Brewing Burners FAQ
Is it okay to use my propane burner in my garage?
No, it is not okay. Under no circumstances will you use a propane burner in an enclosed space.
If you must brew indoors, look for alternatives to a propane stove. Options to consider include induction heaters, electric kettles, and all-in-one brewing systems.
How long will it take for my propane burner to boil the wort?
Boiling time of the wort depends on a number of factors, such as:
- The burner BTU output and heat distribution
- Wort capacity
- Temperature outside
- Strength of wind
However, after sparging, 5 to 10 gallons of wort come to a boil in 20 to 30 minutes on a propane burner.
How many propane burners should I buy?
If you use the conventional three-vessel brewing system involving a kettle, mash tun, and a hot liquor tank, two burners are ideal. One of the burners is for the kettle and the other is for a hot liquor tank.
If you can only afford one burner, consider insulating your hot liquor tank. This way, you can keep the preheated sparge water hot. You will then need just one burner.
As we have seen from the buying guide list, a number of factors come into play when you are looking for a propane burner.
So, when you are out shopping, compare each option that has caught your attention based on different factors. Make only an informed decision, because your safety and your enjoyment of brewing depends on it.
Even with an extensive list of things to consider, you might still find it a challenge to single out just one burner for purchase. So, here is a summary of all the factors you should compare your options with.
However, you still might find yourself unsure which propane burner might fit your needs the best. You can compare them all based on the following factors:
- Ease of assembly
- Ease of use
- Type of paint used
- Quality of material used
- Additional features
All these factors will help you decide which propane burner will suit your needs the best. So, make an informed decision and refer back to this buying guide to get the best burner for home brewing!